By Amy DeYoung
Updated Dec 26, 2022
New Year’s Eve celebrations are full of fun, laughter, drinks, and fireworks. While our furry friends can join in on the fun, we must keep them safely tucked away from the fireworks (which are often frightening for them) and prevent other accidents.
Keep reading to learn about the most important pet safety tips to keep in mind during New Year’s celebrations.
Alcoholic beverages and party food abound during parties and celebrations. Unfortunately for our pets, human food is often unsafe for them to consume. Common party foods that could harm your pet include anything with chocolate, avocado, onion, chives, coffee, many fruits, and much more. Consuming high amounts of fatty meats can also cause your pet to develop pancreatitis, a serious and sometimes fatal condition.
If you’re having guests over and your pet is loose, speak with your guests about keeping their beverages and food with them at all times or kept high on tall counters or tables. You should let your guests know you’d prefer it if they didn’t feed your dog or cat any table scraps. Many people are unaware of the dangers that certain foods and drinks pose to pets, so they may accidentally harm your pet by doing so.
Pets should never consume any amount of alcohol as it can lead to sudden kidney failure from alcohol toxicity, according to the American Kennel Club. Many alcoholic beverages contain the artificial sweetener Xylitol, which is highly dangerous and even fatal when consumed by pets.
Immediately call a pet poison hotline if you suspect or see your pet consuming unsafe human foods or alcohol to address if you need to take it in for treatment.
Fireworks are a fun way to ring in the new year. To our pets, though, they can be frightening loud noises with no rhyme or reason. Fourth of July is an equally frightening time for pets and one of the most common times that pets are picked up by animal control, often because they escaped from their homes in a panic.
Take the time to create a safe space for your pet. Provide your pet with a quiet and calm place filled with comforting items, like soft blankets, a favorite toy, and water. Some pets may even enjoy listening to a white noise machine, calming music, TV, or the radio to help block out the sound of fireworks, noisemakers, or music playing in another room.
In addition to creating a safe space, plan ahead for the day by taking your dog on its walk early before the fireworks go off. You’ll also want to show no adverse reaction to the firework noise yourself, as your reaction may rub off on your pet. Stay calm and try distracting it with a fun toy, but don’t force it to play if it isn’t interested.
Planning for the unexpected is especially important if you’re hosting a New Year’s Eve party. You’ll likely have guests coming and going, making it easier for your pet to get outside. Your guests and family members may be unused to being around a pet and forget about leaving chocolate, alcohol, or other dangerous substances out for your pet to get into. Have a pet poison helpline on hand and keep a close eye on your pet to help it stay safe.
If possible, barricade the room where guests are coming in and out of your home to keep your pet away from the door. Ask all guests to leave their purses, coats, and personal belongings in a safe place, away from your pet, as many people keep medications, gum, and other potentially harmful substances in these items.
Alternatively, remove potentially harmful items such as plants, medications, and food if you’re leaving your pet alone on New Year’s Eve. Even if your pet is ordinarily fine around these items, the loud noises may spook it, inspiring it to start chewing things up or tearing through your plants.
If your pet is especially sensitive or easily distressed by loud noises or a large group of people, consult your pet’s veterinarian about anti-anxiety remedies. If your pet is highly anxious, your vet may prescribe an anxiety medication or recommend that you pick up an over-the-counter supplement, such as melatonin, to ease its nerves.
One of these supplements or medications may help your pet enjoy New Year’s Eve in a quiet room without the stress of its anxiety hounding them.
In addition, consider placing a ThunderShirt or vest on your pet. A ThunderShirt is the pet equivalent of a weighted blanket. The added weight provides a feeling of safety and comfort to your pet during anxiety-inducing events.
Despite all your preventative measures, your pet may still escape or panic during this eventful night. As a result, you must update your pet’s ID tag and microchip information frequently so that shelters can reunite your pet with you easier.
Microchips are essential for cats that are particularly adept at removing their collars. However, dogs should also be microchipped because collars can be removed by an ill-meaning party or ripped off as your dog runs through brush or fences.
Lastly, plan something fun for your pet to do with you to celebrate the ball drop and the new year. If it’s open to it, you could dress your furry friend up, put a little party hat on it, or give it a special gift or treat to ring in the new year. If you’d rather enjoy a quieter night, consider having a fun movie marathon with your pup or kitty and a friend or two to celebrate.
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